New York Coffee Shop

Coffee Shop Etiquette



Studying at home happens often, but it isn’t always the most distraction-free setting, with chores reminding you they need to be done and TV’s within reaching distance. Coffee shops can offer a great escape from the norm, providing you with a change of scenery, interactions with new people and free Wi-Fi. Plus, what better place to study than a cozy spot that smells of a fresh brew, with relaxing music and yummy snacks?

Whether you set up shop at the closest Starbucks or in your neighborhood coffee café, there’s a list of unspoken rules many baristas (and some customers) wish more people knew. 

  • No camping out for free.

    • Sitting at a table in a coffee shop for a few hours means you may be taking the spot from other customers. Do not steal a spot for three hours, but only order one small coffee. Especially not during peak hours! The norm among baristas is buying a new drink every two hours. This way you are helping the business and you are much more caffeinated to knock out that project. 

  • Don’t stretch an extension cord across the floor to plug in your laptop.

    • This is obviously a tripping hazard, and it is especially dangerous in a place where hot drinks are served. If you have to charge your laptop, sit as close to the outlet as possible, and only charge for as long as necessary. No unplugging coffee shop appliances and do not be an outlet hog. Don’t use more than one outlet at a time, either. You can charge your phone with a USB port on your laptop while your laptop is still plugged in, if necessary. 

  • Be aware of the sounds you make.

    • You should not be the dominant audio source in the café. Headphones are a must, whether listening to music, watching a video, or even on the phone. Speaking of phone calls, no one wants to hear the entirety of your conversation. Stay conscious of your volume level and the topic being discussed. Call lasting longer than you expected? Move outside.

  • Respect the limited space

    • Coffee shops have a limited number of tables and chairs. Be courteous to other patrons and only take the space you need. No single tables? Communal tables, those oversized, long tables that are becoming more and more popular, are for anyone and everyone, they are made to be shared. Plus, take the chance to say hi to a few of your co-customers. Socializing can make a nice study break!

  • Don’t hog the Wi-Fi

    • Public Wi-Fi has a limited bandwidth and it is impossible for employees to police, so customers have to limit themselves. No downloading large files, streaming videos, or gaming on breaks. If your laptop is beginning to crawl instead of a run, you are probably taking up too much bandwidth. 

  • Clean up after yourself

    • Coffee shops are some of the busiest places, with high turnover rates. If you just spent the last few hours taking a table, any mess you leave is holding that table even longer. Clean up after yourself. New customers and the baristas will be grateful.  

Expand your coffee horizons, find a new specialty shop, maybe make a new friend, all while studying, but be aware of your surroundings and be courteous to the staff, who are allowing you some freedom from the house, and the other customers, who are sharing space with you.